Slight spoiler for Hueco Mundo arc, no other warnings for the epilogue.
Disclaimer: Kubo Tite owns Bleach; Bleach owns my soul.
Part Five: Epilogue
I’ll return the hougyoku to a state where it never existed--using my powers. ~ Orihime, chapter 249
The moment a toy bow was put into the hands of a Quincy child, that child felt special. That child felt chosen.
The child would not be able to summon a bow for spiritrons for some time in his training, but the gift of a toy wooden bow to a Quincy child from a Quincy parent was a ceremonious occasion. Songs were sung. Special foods were eaten. The word was repeated over and over again--chosen. Among all the peoples of the Earth, the Quincy had the power to protect the souls of the dead from terrible monsters of the afterlife. A gift, a distinction, a treasured identity.
And thus, each Quincy child believed he had a glorious destiny.
The Elders knew. Saving a soul was a glorious feeling indeed, and yes, each Quincy was chosen--but chosen for what? The perils were there--death by Hollow or even by humans who suspected the Quincy of being malevolent spirits. The Quincy, like all people, suffered and rejoiced in their daily lives. Like all people, they tried to avoid Death. But until the Shinigami came for them, the Quincy believed that they had a right to exist.
Orihime pressed her fingers against the folds of her newly-made Arrancar hakama. It was a strange fabric, almost transparent, and she was afraid to try it on because she thought it would reveal too much. It didn’t, though.
They cared for her. Aizen and the Arrancar cared for her. They treated her well. They gave her the foods she craved. Every night she slept on the softest mattress with the softest blankets in all of Las Noches.
Having seen, if only for that short time, the memories of Quincy souls when they were human, Orihime had a new perception of Ishida-kun. He said he was the last one. He obviously had Quincy powers, but his father--wouldn’t his father be a Quincy too? Orihime thought he was a doctor. How did Ishida learn to summon a bow if a little toy wooden one was never placed in his hands?
Ishida-kun believed in Destiny. That was part of what made him strong. Destiny was a funny concept. Orihime had never understood it. Had she been destined to meet Kurosaki-kun and travel to Soul Society? Or was it chance--if she had brushed her hair once less time before going to bed would the next day and her whole life have been different?
Here she was, by destiny or chance, the only human among the inhabitants of Hueco Mundo. Did those who believed they were chosen for a certain fate feel less fear than the ones who believed that every next happening happened by chance? Orihime felt afraid a lot of the time. The holes in the spirits around her meant that the beings had no hearts. Ulquiorra, as fond as she was becoming of him, had no heart.
Orihime learned, as the hours passed in Las Noches, and as the sandstorms blew over and over past her window, that neither Destiny nor Chance was going to decide the purpose of her life. Will, concentrated will, would lead her to destroy the hougyoku--or if not that, then to find some way to escape this place, with her life and no help from others.
So much for hope. Hope was a debilitating feeling. It waited and it waited by the window. Will didn’t wait. It didn’t wait for Destiny or Fate to show the way.
Ishida-kun, she knew, believed in that earnest way of his that, because he was a Quincy, he was chosen for a great destiny. It did, after all, make sense that the Last Destiny should have a great one.
If not, the universe was unfair.
One question--is it Golden week in Japan this week or next? I want to know whether to get pumped up tomorrow for possible chapter leaks.